The cost of heat stress for a pigfarm!

Publicatiedatum: 03-07-2020

Heat stress has a major effect on the technical results of a farm. This applies to slaughter pigs as for sows and their piglets. The financial results suffer equally. The annual damage for the complete pork industry in the US alone is estimated at a whopping 300 million Dollar.   

Ardol investigated the effect of heat stress in the farrowing pen and the financial implications. (see also: What is the seasonal effect on my technical results?)

So, what is its cost in the farrowing pen?  The short answer? For a well-managed farm with 500 sows it costs at least € 10.000 per year.

Ardol calculated this with the help of 2 parameters originating from the best performing farms in the Netherlands and Belgium. Those parameters were the farrowing rate and the number of weaned piglets per litter. By calculating an average of these farms, we eliminated the influence of farm management.

A more nuanced answer is that heat stress is such a complex problem that it is difficult to characterize by only two parameters. Digestive problems, sudden death and loss in piglet quality are some of the problems that come to mind. This is recognized by all farmers and experienced people in this sector. The effective cost of heat stress can quickly mount to a multitude of € 10.000 per farm.

Is your farm not performing as good as it should be for those 2 parameters? The financial impact of heat stress on your farm will be many times more.

 1) Influence of heat stress on the farrowing rate

  • Average result of these farms: 87,3 %
  • Average result in the best performing months: 87,9 %
  • Average result in the worst performing months: 86,27 %

Difference: 1,63 %

The university of Wageningen (The Netherlands) values the financial value of 1% farrowing rate more or less at € 16,50 per sow per year*

 € 16,50 * 1,63 = € 26,90 / sow / year

The effects of heat stress are present for 4 months/year. (see also: What is the seasonal influence on my technical results?))

 € 26,90 * 4/12 = € 9,00 / sow

 Heat stress will cost a well performing farm of 500 sows € 4.500 due to a lowered farrowing rate.

 2) Influence of heat stress on the number of weaned piglets per litter

  • Average number of piglets weaned: 14,1
  • Average number of piglets in the best period: 14,18
  • Average number of piglets in the worst period: 13,86

Difference: 0,32

Economic value of a weaned piglets = € 40,00 

 € 40,00 * 0,32 = € 12,80 / litter

On an average farm of 500 sows

  • 500 * 2,37 = 1185 farrowing’s per year
  • 99 farrowing’s / month
  • The effects of heat stress are present for 4 months/year

 396 x € 12,80 = € 5.070


Heat stress will cost a well performing farm of 500 sows € 5.070 due to a lower number of weaned piglets.   


The economic damage in the farrowing pen due to heat stress because of a lowered farrowing rate and less weaned piglets mounts to almost € 10.000 for an average farm of 500 sows. This calculation takes into account only the effect on the technical numbers. Digestive disorders, sudden death or loss in piglet quality haven’t be taking into account. The real cost of heat stress can quickly mount to a multitude of € 10,000 per average farm.

(*calculation: at a farrowing rate of 85% (average in The Netherlands, the average profit per sow present at the farm is € 1400. If the farrowing rate would increase by 1%, the profit would increase to 1400 * 86/85 = 1416,5. Therefore the economic value of 1% = € 16,5))

Discover Lianol Ferti here!

Discover everything about heat stress here!

Share this message

Other articles

Increased fertility is possible!
A higher birthweight due to preventive actions!
Seasonal infertility: the cause, the cost and can you prevent it from happening?
Increasing the farrowing rate with a fertility tab ?
15 Practical tips to prevent heat stress!
What is the seasonal effect on my technical results?
Heat stress, a seasonal or a daily problem?
Weaning piglets more easily? Their IGF-1 level appears to be important!
How to stimulate those difficult sows to come into heat sooner.

Ardol uses cookies.

We use functional and analytical cookies to make our website more user-friendly and to guarantee the proper functioning of our website. We also use marketing cookies. They provide us with anonymous information so that we can show our visitors as much relevant information as possible. When you click on 'continue', you give us permission to place these cookies. You can read more information about the use of cookies by Ardol in our privacy statement